Historic house slated for demolition

This was another one of my favorite stories. It was about a popular party house that was scheduled for demolition, along with a popular bar and a restaurant, to make way for the Oread Inn – a controversial issue at the time. The story was primarily a feature about the history of the house and the experiences of students who lived in it.

It’s been known as the Rugby House, the Sex House and the G-Dub house, but soon the 83-year-old house at 1142 Indiana St. will be known as the construction site for the Oread Inn, which Lawrence city commissioners approved last Tuesday.

Along with five other houses in the area, 1142 Indiana is scheduled for demolition. Lynn Zollner, administrator to the historic resources commission, expects the demolition will begin sometime this spring.

The historic building has housed many tenants durring the years.

Ed Kenney, KU alumnus, lived in the house during the summer of 1972 – back when it was an apartment building.

“It was a really nice apartment, but it was never really a place to party,” Kenney said.

Kenney’s son, Brendon Kenney, and seven other students changed all that thirty-two years later when they moved in and turned it into the Sigma Epsilon Chi – SEX House with the Greek letters hanging from the front balcony. They were not a real fraternity.

Sam Carners, one of the eight students who lived in the house from 2004 to 2005, said the decision to name it the SEX house was a unanimous household decision.

“We changed the name because the guys before us – the rugby team – called it the Rugby House and we didn’t want to be the guys that lived in the Rugby House; we wanted to be the guys that owned the Sex House,” Carnes said.

Andrew Kadel, one of other former Sex House roommates, described the house as the perfect place to party.

“Our first party got so big we saw a cop pull someone over and asked him to come help us kick people out,” Kadel said. “At one of our biggest parties we had six kegs and a dodgeball tournament in our driveway.”

Kadel said football tailgating was what gave the house its popularity. At the 2004 rivalry game between KU and KSU alone, Kadel said his household raised more than $500 from parking.

The owners before Kadel and his friends used the house for recreational purposes as well, he said, because when they moved in, the basement was filled with sand left over from when the KU Rugby Team owned the house.

“Our landlord was pissed because the guys before us had a beach party or something they never cleaned up,” Kadel said.

Other than the sand in the basement and a faulty balcony, Kadel described the house as a nice place to live.

“We couldn’t go out on our balcony or else the roof would cave in, but overall it was in good shape,” Kadel said. “I was really disappointed when I found out it was getting torn down.”

In 2005, the Sex house guys moved out and the G-Dub girls moved in.

Katie Feeley, Chicago senior, said she came up with the house’s new name when she bought a large coin with George Washington’s logo on it for 50 cents at a sidewalk sale and hung it up from the front of the house. Feeley said it started as a joke, but after the first party “everyone started calling it the George Washington House so it just sort of became the G-Dub House.”

Feeley said she and her roommates threw 10 parties, each with six kegs and a DJ, her sophomore year.

In the first year she lived there, she and her roommates received seven citations for disturbing the peace, which Feeley said added up to about $800 to $1,000 in fines.

“We sacrificed ourselves for the good cause of college students,” Feeley said. “It was above and beyond the definition of a fun, college party-house.”

Tierney Ross, Chanute junior, and Jenna McMillen, Wichita junior, were among Feeley’s roommates during the fall semester of 2006, but moved out because of the house’s poor living conditions.

“I don’t want to be mean or anything, but that house was falling apart,” Ross said.

One example of this was when an upstairs toilet overflowed and leaked through the ceiling into the kitchen. Two different types of mold spawned from the spillage, Ross said, which spread to the kitchen cupboards and ruined some of the roommates’ food.

A family of raccoons lived in the attic and the chimney, Ross said, and a possum lived in the trash can outside.

“He wasn’t mean or anything. He just popped out of the trash can from time to time to look at us and go back in,” Ross said.

McMillen’s main complaint concerned a family of bats that lived in the basement.

McMillen encountered one bat after it snuck into her room through a furnace in the basement.

“The bat went ape-shit and started swooping around all over the place knocking into everything,” she said. “I started screaming until it perched on my ceiling and one of my roommates helped me get it out.”

McMillen and Ross both moved out at the end of the fall semester of 2006.

The rest of the G-Dub crew moved out in May of 2007, ending the house’s occupancy forever.

—Edited by Nick Mangiaracina

Published in the University Daily Kansan on Feb. 21, 2008

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